Alvin & the Chipmunks

PLOT:

The story begins in a hill backdrop in a forest during the winter. Three singing chipmunks named Alvin (voiced by Justin Long), Simon (voiced by Matthew Gray Gubler) and Theodore (voiced by Jesse McCartney) are singing Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day”. Alvin complains about the food storage when he accidentally empties their stock. He then complains about his own tough life to struggle for his survival and even calls their tree a “stupid, stupid tree”. Then the tree shakes; Theodore thinks that Alvin has “made the tree angry.” However, the tree is chopped down (with the trio in it), netted down to a truck, and driven to Los Angeles to become a Christmas tree. Meanwhile, struggling songwriter David “Dave” Seville (played by Jason Lee), is late for his meeting at JETT Records. Dave submits his song but is rejected by executive Ian Hawke (played by David Cross), who says he hates Dave’s latest song. During Dave’s meeting, the Chipmunks and the tree wind up in the lobby of JETT records; the trio manages to escape and get into Dave’s car via a muffin basket he is carrying. When Dave gets home, he dumps the muffin basket in the garbage can and throws all his music equipment out the door. The Chipmunks set about raiding his cupboards while Dave watches television. When Dave discovers them, there’s a scuffle, and Alvin finally causes Dave to lose consciousness by dropping a glass jar onto his head.

When Dave wakes up, he realizes that “squirrels” can talk, but Alvin corrects him that they’re chipmunks. Dave then forces them to leave his house after they introduce themselves. Dave hears the Chipmunks singing The Platters’ “Only You” (even though, Ringo Starr had the song on his album, “Goodnight Vienna”). After realizing that the trio can also sing, Alvin replies “that’s not singing, this is singing”, and they sing Lipps, Inc.’s “Funkytown”. Enjoying their singing, Dave brings them back inside. Dave proposes a deal: if they sing his songs, they get to stay with him. Alvin then reminds him about his music equipment outside; frantically, Dave runs out in the pouring rain to retrieve the equipment.

Dave puts them to bed in an armchair; whilst the Chipmunks sleep, their snores accumulate into a song, sparking Dave’s inspiration. He writes Ross Bagdasarian, Sr.’s The Chipmunk Song. When Dave awakens the next morning, the Chipmunks are trying to catch waffles shot out of the toaster, but when Simon tries to catch one, it drops right in front of him and he doesn’t see it. Realizing Simon is nearsighted, Dave finds a tiny pair of round-framed glasses from a decorative Santa and gives them to Simon. With his new glasses, Simon can now see perfectly. The Chipmunks then sing Dave’s song successfully.

Dave returns to JETT records and shows Ian his surprise: the three Chipmunks with his jingle in the background. Though the Chipmunks sang the song perfectly earlier, they get stage fright and refuse to sing; Ian thinks Dave is crazy and leaves. In the car ride back to Dave’s house, they admit to Dave about their stage fright, and Dave sends them home. When Dave finally gets to his job, he begins presenting his advertising pitch about the “Goodable Energy Bar” commercial, but Simon calls him on his cell-phone: Alvin and Theodore are inside the vacuum cleaner and the house is flooding because Simon doesn’t know how to turn off the sink faucet. Dave says he’ll deal with the problems later and hangs up; however, when he begins his presentation, he discovers that the Chipmunks have drawn all over his presentation boards. Dave decides to clean out his office, as he knows that he is fired.

Dave is furious when he gets home. As he sits the trio down for a talk (after finding Alvin taking a shower in the dishwasher), Theodore elbows onto the phone’s answering machine button. A message plays that reminds Dave that he has a dinner date with his crush, Claire Wilson (played by Cameron Richardson), and she’ll be arriving at 7:00. When Dave realizes that it’s now 6:30, Simon tells Dave to go get food for the dinner, and he and the others will clean up the house. Much to Dave’s surprise, the house is spotless when he gets home from the grocery store, however, he soon realizes that the chipmunks have simply shoved the mess into the refrigerator.

During the dinner, Alvin attempts to “help” by playing music on the CD player, dimming the lights, and making a romantic fire in the fireplace, all to Dave’s embarrassment and Claire’s confusion. When Claire demands to know what’s going on, Dave admits, “My life is being sabotaged by talking Chipmunks.” Claire doesn’t believe him and leaves, thinking he hasn’t changed at all (a conversation earlier in the movie implied that their relationship originally failed due to Dave’s immaturity).

The Chipmunks realize that Dave is mad at them and feel guilty; they then get an idea and leave the house. Meanwhile, Dave, completely exasperated with the three, puts together a box with waffles, a plastic water bottle, a blanket, and holes in the lid. He begins to write a letter of apology that their living arrangement is not working out. However, he changes his mind, crumples the letter up, and tosses it on the floor, where it rolls under his bed. Realizing that the chipmunks have left the house, he begins to search for them. Eventually, he gives up and goes to sleep. It is then shown that the chipmunks have taken a Cab to Ian’s mansion. After singing Dave’s Christmas song, Ian is impressed and responds, “Welcome to Jett Records.”

The next day at the supermarket, while Dave and the Chipmunks are shopping, the Chipmunks’ song plays on the store radio to Dave’s amazement. Dave gets a call for Ian, who gleefully tells Dave that the chipmunk’s song–as well as their video on youtube–is a hit. A montage follows, showing the chipmunks’ increasing fame.

On Christmas Eve, Theodore tells Dave that he had a nightmare and that he wants to sleep with him. Although Dave tells Theodore that he can only if he stays on the other side of the bed; Theodore curls up on Dave’s shoulder and Dave doesn’t have the heart to make him leave. The next morning, Alvin and Simon wake up Dave and Theodore and they exchange gifts. Simon gets Dave a paper clip compass that he made, Alvin gets Dave his own wallet, and Theodore gives Dave a moving card with Pineapple-like images of the four as a family. Dave is firm that they are friends and nothing more, however, the Chipmunks continue to insist that Dave is their family. Dave gets the Chipmunks each a $100 savings bond, which they can spend in seven years, much to Alvin’s displeasure. Ian bursts in (in his Santa Claus hat and carrying a bag stuffed with presents) and gives the Chipmunks lots of gifts, leading them to calling him Uncle Ian and making Dave’s practical gift look bad by comparison.

One week later, Ian throws a launch party for The Chipmunks’ new CD. At the party, The Chipmunks perform (where they sing Ross Bagdasarian, Sr.’s second, “Witch Doctor”), and Ian insists to Dave that they should market the boys more to make more money. Concerned for their well-being, Dave insists that The Chipmunks are “kids” and don’t need so much craziness in their lives. After warning Dave that he “never loses,” Ian tells The Chipmunks that Dave is holding them back and calls them “rats” behind their backs. The next day, Dave and The Chipmunks have an argument; in anger, Dave tells them that if they like “Uncle Ian” so much, they should just go live with him. That night, Theodore discovers the letter Dave wrote following the dinner disaster. The chipmunks believe that Dave meant what he said to them earlier and, saddened, decide to leave Dave and go live with Ian.

Although their life with Ian starts off great (they arrive at his mansion to a room full of expensive toys and the declaration is that the only rule is that there are no rules), after they set out for their coast-to-coast tour, Ian begins to change their image completely and overwork them to the point of exhaustion. A concerned Dave calls and asks to speak to them; Ian refuses, saying that they’re too busy. When he gets off the phone with Dave, he lies to The Chipmunks, telling them that Dave said that he was doing great without them. After informing The Chipmunks that he sent Dave a ticket to their concert and Dave sent it back, Ian privately tells his head of security to not allow Dave into the concert for any reason.

Later, Dave sees Julian Reynolds on the news, who talks about the rumors that The Chipmunks are being overworked, however, Ian has assured the press that the boys are doing just fine. Reynolds also talks about how The Chipmunks are about to set out on their global tour, starting with a concert in Los Angeles. Dave realizes that he has to put a stop to this, and sets out to get The Chipmunks back.

Right before the concert is supposed to begin, a doctor says that the Chipmunks can’t sing because their voices have given out. Ian doesn’t want to hand out refunds and orders The Chipmunks to lip sync(which Simon calls “cheating”). Dave attempts to get into the concert and is helped by Claire, who provides him with her press pass. The Chipmunks begin their performance, and as Dave makes his way to the stage, he is grabbed by security. As he’s being dragged away, Dave yells for Alvin. The Chipmunks see Dave being taken away and realize they’ve been tricked; they decide that they’ve had enough of Ian, reveal that they were lip-syncing, and run amok, ruining the concert. Dave escapes and makes it backstage, after a scuffle with security, Ian traps the chipmunks and locks them in a cat-carrier. Dave insists to Ian that since the Chipmunks ruined the concert, word will soon get out, and their popularity will decline. Ian however, remains unfazed by this, stating that because they are talking Chipmunks, people will still come.

The detained Chipmunks are left with Ian’s luggage, next to a pile of talking Chipmunk dolls, while Ian quickly gets ready to board the plane to take the Chipmunks to Paris for their next concert. Alvin tells Simon to use his brain to think of a way out. Minutes later, Ian grabs the cat carrier, hops into his chauffeured car, and starts to drive off. Dave sets after him, determined to rescue the trio. However, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore stand up on the front passenger seat of his car and egg him on. Dave stops the car after realizing that the real Chipmunks are with him; Simon explains, “We’re talking chipmunks, Dave. We can get out of a cat carrier.Not even hard to do it…” After admitting that they really are a family, the four drive home, by Dave letting Alvin steer, Theodore honk the horn, and Simon operate the window wipers. Later on, Ian looks into the carrier and is shocked to find three talking Chipmunk dolls instead of the real Chipmunks.

Later, Claire comes over, and Dave and the Chipmunks have prepared toaster waffles and champagne. Alvin tries to get the cork out of the champagne bottle, but when he succeeds, the cork flies into a glass china set, and all the liquid pours out of the bottle. Dave’s patience is tested as he tries his best not to “say it”. The spilled champagne then damages the power outlet, causing a blackout. Dave decides to “say it,” and lets out his trademark “AAAALLLLVIIIIINNNNN!!” Alvin responds with “Okay!”

During the closing credits, a hopeless Ian is seen attempting to teach three squirrels to sing, but the squirrels do not respond, and Ian is forced down in tears as the credits continue.

REVIEW:

I was a fan of the chipmunks growing up in the 80s. I’m not well schooled on their origins, but from what I know, this film does them justice.

My qualm with this film is with the chipmunk’s voices. They are up and coming stars in Hollywood, yet until you read their names in the credits, you would never know its them. Seems like a waste to me. The studio could have just hired Joe Schmo of the street, changed his voice and done that, rather than pay the ridiculous salaries these guys got for the voice overs.

Onto the positive, Jason Lee was inspired casting as Dave. There were times I thought I was actually watching the cartoon. He’s spot on for Dave.

Cameron Richardson is a total hottie. Wish she could have gotten more screen time, but this is a family picture, so I’ll allow it.

The animation of the chipmunks is superb. They didn’t seem out of place the way some CGI objects tend to.

Plot-wise, I think there could have been more time spent on the developing relationship between Dave and the boys, rather than cram it all in as a montage, but that’s just my personal preference.

If you were a fan of the cartoon, you won’t be disappointed…and of course the most famous of Alvin & the Chipmunks’ songs is included ad nausea in the film. lol

5 out of 5 stars

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5 Responses to “Alvin & the Chipmunks”

  1. Interesting Read! Very detailed blog,thanks for sharing

  2. […] Alvin & the Chipmunks surprised everyone when it was released and became such a huge hit. Even more surprising was the news that they were making a sequel. Obviously, the only reason you would bother to make a sequel is to bring in the Chippettes, but they aren’t a big enough reason to make an unnecessary sequel. At least they aren’t big enough to have a theatrical release. […]

  3. […] big screen and changed to live-action, such as Scooby-Doo, Dudley Do-Right, George of the Jungle, Alvin & the Chipmunks, Mr. Magoo, and to a lesser extent, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Yogi Bear does its […]

  4. […] mornings just to watch them. I think we all saw this coming, especially after the success of Alvin & the Chipmunks, but the question is…did they do them justice with this big screen […]

  5. […] them. Kudos to the film for showing that sense of first time wonder, as opposed to something like Alvin & the Chipmunks which has us belive that they have been listening to the radio their whole lives and can […]

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